While training my clients to use social media, I am often asked the question, “Why do people use hashtags? Are they effective?” Hashtags can seem to be an entirely different language sometimes. While the hashtag originated in Twitter, it soon migrated over to Instagram and then became active on Facebook. We seem to have picked up this habit in our spoken language, as is evident in this popular (and very funny) video by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake: http://youtu.be/57dzaMaouXA
When used strategically, hashtags can be topic markers, mood indicators, voting tools, chat titles, campaign and event markers, product names, etc. And so with the various uses of hashtags, we need to employ strategy when we select hashtags for our content plan. Because without proper planning, you may find your results in line with #myNYPD or #AskEmmert – both examples which became bashtags this past week.
If you want to make sure you select the right hashtag for your marketing communication, then this week’s video is for you. I walk you through five, super easy steps to prevent your hashtag from becoming a hashtag. Have a look:
It’s been a big month for Twitter, as they’ve added the ability to add four photos in one tweet. In addition, you can tag up to 10 people in your photos. This week, Twitter announced they’ve redesigned the online profiles. Cue the freak out!
The negative reaction to these changes always puzzles me. That and the immediate release of articles which blast the changes without really understanding what new features might be super helpful.
How do you react to major change – within social media and elsewhere? What should we do, instead of hopping on the “I hate it” bandwagon?
I share my (positive) perspective and lend some advice on embracing change in the fast-paced world of social media.
Also in this week’s message, I included an excerpt from Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, which I highly recommend you acquire.
Take a look at this article from WIRED, which does a fine job of explaining the reasons behind Twitter’s profile redesign. It makes a lot of sense. I always like to get to the WHY of a decision. Good read.
Working with the organizations that I do – Private Clubs, Athletics, Greek & Graduate Programs – I know that you all host major events throughout the year. They may be member traditions, golf tournaments, the Big Game against an arch rival or potential record-breaking game for an athlete, charity events, awards programs and alumni reunions. These are all special events which deserve extra attention in your communication strategy. It helps to plan out your social posts in advance so that you can repurpose the photos and stories into blog posts, newsletters and other communication which makes the event more interactive and increases longevity and engagement.
Today I share with you five steps to develop your social media strategy for special events. So get your calendar out, choose an upcoming event, get a pen and paper and take notes! Make sure you watch through to the end where I provide my weekly subscribers a free offer!
A brief overview of the five steps covered in the strategy lesson this week (I really want you to watch the video and take a few notes!):
1. Create Your Timeline
Create a timeline for the event. Take into account start time, meals, half time for sports, speeches and presentations, etc. You’ll use this timeline in Step 4.
2. Identify VIPs
Take a look at your RSVP list and identify your VIPs and people you want to feature in your stories. Identify their usernames on Twitter, Instagram, etc., so you can include them in posts later.
3. Understand The WHY
What is the significance of the event? What’s the story? Having a clear understanding will help you draft posts and better tell your story.
4. Build Your Strategy
Create a photo shot list so that you can plan to capture significant moments (think about those VIPs and things like presentations, awards). Draft your posts in advance. This will save you time in the moment. Build into the timeline you created in Step 1 the times you will post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
This is a team effort. Figure out who’s taking pictures and video, who’s posting during the event, etc. One person cannot do everything during events of this scale.
Following these five steps will help you during the event to capture magic moments, feature your VIPs, and tell an amazing story.
Do you have a tip others can learn from? Share it in the comments and let us know what’s helped you build your social media strategy for special events.
Some of you have asked me, “Where do you find your content?” In this week’s video, I spill the beans and share my secret. I’ll give you a hint. “Straight from the horse’s mouth.”
I also ask for your feedback, as we are passing the three month mark on my sharing the weekly video and news with you.I truly want to hear from you. What video was your favorite so far? Why? What type of content would you like me to share in the future?
I want to make sure you look forward to receiving my updates each week and that the information I share is truly helpful to you. I aim to provide the most current news from the online and social media world, and tips to build effective communication strategies.
Please know that I have received one request to do a tutorial, where I walk you through a task on the computer. I’m planning and preparing for that. Stay tuned!
These first few months have been quite an interesting ride. What for some people is their worst nightmare, public speaking, I thrive on stage in front of a live audience. I love it. Recording these videos has been a true learning experience. I thank you for watching each week and the numerous e-mail responses I’ve received. You are always welcome to contact me on e-mail, or you can leave a comment at the end of the blog post. Thank so much! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
BONUS: I’ve looked over my past videos, and while the production quality of this video is lacking (it was raining in SD and dark outside, so very little natural lighting), the message hits home. I also did it in one take, which is quite an achievement! For the focus of the message, this is probably my favorite video to date:
Since we celebrated the start of spring this week – so sorry to those of you who are not yet enjoying spring-like weather! – I thought I would update this post which first appeared last year around this time. The significance of this topic actually warrants an annual post.
One of the little pieces of advice I frequently give for managing social media is to make time once per month to review your social media accounts. As these platforms often change, your settings may change, along with the functions and features of the site. If you don’t make the time once per month, then I hope you will at least take a moment to “spring clean” your social media accounts, pruning and watering your network at least once this year.
6 Steps to Social Spring Cleaning
Think of these first two steps as housework. We’re inside and we have two key tasks we need to take care of before we can have a little fun tending to the spring garden:
Just as you would put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands before you use bleach, your accounts require protection, too. Let’s start with your login information. When was the last time you updated your passwords? Several social sites have had security breaches in this past year, as well as major retailers. Take a moment to change your passwords and better protect your accounts. Do not use words like “password” or “admin,” your name or your birthday in your password. Combinations of numbers and letters, upper and lower case are advised. While it is not suggested by most digital gurus, I do actually keep a written list of my passwords, as I have different passwords for each account (and my password memory isn’t that stellar). Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. You definitely do not want to use the same password for your bank account as you do on Facebook. Mercy!
Next, make sure you review the security and privacy settings. Social media sites are continually evolving and often release new features. When they do, it’s possible that some settings revert to default. This is more often the case with Facebook. Go through your account and privacy settings and make sure that you understand how the site functions. LinkedIn’s settings are also multi-layered. Are you visible to only the people you want to be visible to? Refresh your profile data and make sure it reflects you accurately. Coordinate your bio/about me/profile sections across all your sites so that you are branded across each channel where you are active.
Now it’s time to do a little gardening and improve the health of your networks:
If you don’t actually know the folks you are friends with on Facebook, not sure why you follow some of those folks on Twitter, or cannot find value in your LinkedIn connections, this is a time to unfriend, unfollow and disconnect. Be certain about who you are interacting with on any of the social sites. It is significant to recognize that you and your personal brand are associated with the people in your digital networks. You would not allow unsightly plants grow wild in your manicured garden. Don’t allow inappropriate contacts to influence your network and image. Remove the weeds.
Both Facebook and Twitter offer a list function which is amazingly helpful in organizing your contacts. I have created lists on Facebook around how I know people. On Twitter, I organize my Tweeps by category/profession or topics they tweet about. A fabulous tip for the Twitter lists – you don’t have to follow people to put them on a list. Twitter lists are still one of the most under-used and under-valued functions on Twitter. My lists really help me find valuable content and stay up-to-date with my favorite accounts. This is an older blog post, but still relatively accurate in understanding how to create your lists on FB and Twitter: Make That List!
Since you’ve already gone through your contacts and removed the weeds, you should have some empty pots to fill. Find a few key contacts that you are not yet connected to and plant those seeds! Send them a nice note on LinkedIn as to why you want to connect. Use Twitter’s suggestions of who to follow. See who’s signed up for Instagram or Snapchat and make a connection. You can even follow some big brands to learn how they are using these platforms, planting some ideas into your head as to how you will leverage these networks.
Take some time on LinkedIn to endorse your connections for their skills. It’s a nice way to let them know you’ve remembered them and might spark a beneficial reconnection. They will likely return the endorsements and help you build your profile. Tweet to someone you haven’t conversed with in awhile or send a private message to an old friend on Facebook. Social media is designed to help you stay connected to family, friends and professional contacts. Take advantage of these features to allow your garden of networks to bloom.
BONUS: Lastly, take out your calendar and schedule 30 minutes each month to go through your social media settings. (So that you don’t begin to rely on my annual reminder in spring!) A monthly check-in will allow you to stay on top of new features, keep those weeds at bay and enjoy social networks which are active, vibrant and productive.
Happy Social Spring Cleaning!
Can you believe it? The internet turned 25 this week! That’s right! TWENTY FIVE! To celebrate this milestone, I share with you my story of the first time I went online.
I actually remember the first time I went online, that I entered the world wide web. It was in 1995 or 1996 when I worked at the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Go Gauchos! The Association had just been hooked up to the world wide web. And so at my computer, my co-workers and I huddled around my computer and using Netscape Navigator (remember that?) we went online.
We looked up very generic topics and were completely fascinated by what we saw. We were not exactly sure how everything worked, but all we could think was, “This is so cool.” We definitely appreciated that the internet was an amazing invention and one that could change the world. And boy has it!
As a communication person, I love the internet and all the fabulous technology that has been built atop its foundation. I am grateful for websites and social media, the ability to shop online, watch movies and TV and all the crazy apps that people dream up. All I see is opportunity. I see opportunity to be and stay connected globally and opportunity to improve communication. I have never understood all the negativity surrounding social media. All I see is the chance to connect and communicate with pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world. That, to me, is amazing.
I have no idea what the next 25 years of the internet has in store, but I am sure looking forward to the ride!
I would love to hear your story! Do you remember the first time you used the World Wide Web? Was it as much of an event as my office story? What are your predictions for the next 25 years? Will we see another Facebook emerge or do you have other ideas as to how the internet will develop? I can’t wait to hear from you!
BONUS: Read Yahoo’s 25 Ways The Web Has Changed The World
How many of you have ever said, “I don’t have time for social media?”
I know I hear it from potential clients, and even from team members of current clients.
So in this week’s video, I explain why social media is not a time hog, nor a waste of time. What is heard when you say that you don’t have time for social media is, ““I don’t have time to directly connect and communicate with my audience.” I don’t think that’s true, so we should understand that with proper planning, you can make your communication work for you and help you achieve your goals.
If you prefer to read through what I’ve discussed in the video, then you’re in for a treat. Here’s the full post:
For years and years, we have had the same sales, marketing and communication tools to work with. Now with social media, we’ve added these dynamic tools to the toolbox to help us do our jobs better, and we push them aside and label them a waste of time. The thing is, if we keep using the same old tools we’ve been using forever and ever, we will continue to produce the same results.
Your audience is online. And they are using social media. They use social media to gather news and information, to share information and discuss, and to learn more about and connect with people and organizations they care about. They are online waiting to connect with YOU.
Put in simple terms, social media are communication tools. Social media are simply communication tools designed to help you communicate directly with a specific audience. That’s it. Social media is not some big mystery or time hog. Social media is not out to get you or make your job more difficult or add extra work to your already big load of tasks.
So let’s take a step back and understand that when we say “I don’t have time for social media,” we are really saying is,
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with my members.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with my potential members.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with the parents.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with alumni.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with donors.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with future students and student-athletes.”
“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with corporate sponsors and media.”
“I don’t have time to directly connect and communicate with my audience.”
Is that true? Would you ever say that? Probably not. I sure hope that’s not the case. How can we get over this sense that we don’t have time for social media, then?
We have to change our approach to why we use social media and how we label it. We need to appreciate that this is the preferred form of communication for the majority of our audience and that social media presents a HUGE opportunity for our organizations to connect directly with our members and community. It’s a crazy effective tool that will allow us new, improved results. Here’s what we need to do to change our approach:
1. You must set clear and specific goals which allow your communication to work for you. Maybe you want to encourage current Members to sponsor one new Member this month, perhaps you desire 250 more people at the soccer game. You might set a goal of growing your alumni reunion attendance by 7% this year. Or you may set a goal to recruit 5 new graduate students from San Diego. Your organization has lots of goals. Each department has specific goals. And the individuals in your organizations have goals to fulfill as well. Communication can serve to achieve those goals.
How can communication serve those goals?
2. This is done through a content plan. Setting up a content plan is really not that difficult. It organizes your communication so that everyone on your team understands that on this date, X message will be posted to Y channel. A content plan will help you organize your daily, weekly and monthly communication to your audience. It will also help you keep track of what you’ve said in the past, so that you stay on point and remain consistent. A content plan will save you time. This is key, because without a specific plan of action, you can and will get lost within your social channels because you are not fulfilling a task. You’ll find yourself aimlessly searching through your news feed, because you didn’t have a clear purpose for logging on to the network in the first place. Coupling a content plan with a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, where you can schedule messages in advance will eliminate distractions and help you stay on track.
What else can a content plan do?
3. A content plan can also help distribute responsibility for posting to social media. For example, a Private Club has several voices the Members should be hearing from. Chef, Food & Beverage, The Golf Pro, Membership, Private Events and Member Relations all make up the collective voice of the Club. However, if all of the Club’s communication is initiated from Member Relations, that is the voice the Members will hear. Your members miss out on the opportunity to learn how to sponsor a new member, what private event packages are on offer or what’s the best advice to improve a golf swing. Everyone needs to and should want to contribute to the content plan so that everyone has an opportunity to achieve their department goals, and directly connect and communicate with their audience.
Therefore, your content plan should include notes to the tune of that on this day, at that time, on X channel, so-and-so will post Y message.
Let’s change what we label social media…
4. Just as you make time in your daily schedule for meetings, sales calls, responding to e-mails and events, so you should make time for social media. But instead of putting “social media” on your calendar which is vauge and without purpose, be specific. “Reply to Twitter messages.” “Post the sponsorship details of the ABC event and include weblink.” “Invite the ‘new biz cards’ pile to connect on LinkedIn.” This makes for a specific task with a specific purpose, designed to help you achieve specific goals.
Social media provides us a tremendous opportunity to creatively, quickly and directly connect and communicate with our audience. We really need to make that mental flip and value the opportunity that social media provides us. We need to approach these tools with the attitude, “This is my goal, this is my message, and this is how I’m going to deliver that message to my audience.” Otherwise, we will keep doing the same thing, using the same methods, and achieving the same results. That to me seems like the waste of time.